I love mochi. I think maybe I've always loved it. Mildly sweet, lovely & chewy, and often filled other yummy things (ice cream, chocolate, peanut butter, red bean paste). When I moved to Taiwan to teach English after college, the mochi thing went into overdrive. All of a sudden what had been a sometimes treat was EVERYWHERE! Taiwanese people even have a term for that lovely chewy toothsomeness that is embodied by mochi & other rice flour treats: "QQ".
Unfortunately, when I returned stateside my access to all things mochi was reduced greatly. Trips to Hawaii & other west coast cities helped a little bit, but it wasn't until my friend Joy posted her easy mochi recipe on her blog that I realized I could have ALL THE MOCHI again. Chi chi mochi is mochi as I love it most, in one of its simplest forms. And it's seriously easy to make.
The extra-awesome bonus to mochi is that since it's made from sweet rice flour, it's naturally gluten-free (chi chi mochi is also dairy-free & vegan). I was thrilled to have a dessert to make for all our vegan & dairy or gluten-sensitive friends.
Of course I can never leave well enough alone, so I modified that original recipe of Joy's to make chocolate & green tea versions as well. If you love mochi too but you think everything is better with chocolate, Joy is posting that modified chocolate chi chi mochi recipe on her blog today!
But in my mochi-making madness I soon found out that the lovely QQness of mochi that was so popular in Taiwan is actually something that some people do NOT like. Luckily for me, Joy posted her butter mochi recipe next. Though not what I think of as mochi (it's more like a very dense custard-y cake), it's also gluten-free. Flavorwise, it reminds me a lot of the pastries & sweet cakes you find in Chinese bakeries. Yum, right?
And I think you all know what came next. I made a chocolate version. This recipe is again, gluten-free, but it is not for the dairy-sensitive, nor is it vegan friendly. But if you are sensitive to gluten & miss brownies/chocolate cake (or just want less wheat flour in your life), this is the recipe for you!
CHOCOLATE BUTTER MOCHI (aka gluten-free brownie-cake)
(Adapted from the Frock Files butter mochi recipe)
3½ C sweet rice flour
2½ C sugar
2 T baking powder
¾ C dutch-process or other high-quality cocoa powder
½ t sea salt (feel free to add an additional ½ t if you like salt)
5 large eggs
1½ t vanilla extract
2 C evaporated milk
1 15oz can of coconut milk
1 stick (8 T) unsalted butter, melted
½ C semi-sweet chocolate chips
A few notes about ingredients: Mochi is made from sweet rice flour (also sometimes called glutinous or sticky rice). Koda Farms' Mochiko is the most commonly used brand-- you can find it at Asian grocery stores or on online at Amazon, but Bob's Red Mill also makes a sweet rice flour that I've been able to find at most of our local grocery stores.
You can use regular or light canned coconut milk, which is usually available at most grocery stores as well (Trader Joe's also has it, and for much less), but I would avoid using coconut cream, which is much thicker. And FYI, two cups of evaporated milk is about one and a half 12 oz. cans. Sorry. If anyone has a good use for that last half can, I'm all ears.
Most importantly, the quality of your cocoa powder makes a big difference in this recipe. If you can't get dutch-process cocoa (we usually get ours at Penzey's), get the highest quality one you can find. No Hershey's here if you can help it, ok?
Let's do this! Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease a 9" x 13" pan.
Whisk together dry ingredients (sweet rice flour, sugar, baking powder, cocoa powder & sea salt) in a large bowl and set aside.
In another large bowl (I do this in a stand mixer, but a handheld mixer would work great too. You can also mix by hand but make sure you really combine everything well), beat eggs and vanilla extract together until smooth. Add remaining wet ingredients (evaporated milk, coconut milk and melted butter) and beat on low until well combined.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in small batches, beating on low the whole time, until it is all incorporated and the mixture is smooth. It looks a lot like chocolate pudding before it sets at this stage. Pour into prepared pan. Gently sprinkle chocolate chips evenly across the top.
Bake for 50-75 minutes, until center feels firm & sproingy and no longer jiggles.
Cool COMPLETELY in pan on wire rack. Cut into small pieces with a plastic knife.
Note: When you first pull this out of the oven it will likely be shiny & crackly on top, and a little crisp around the edges, like a good pan of brownies. If you prefer them this way, cover only loosely once cooled & cut to preserve that crispy edge. If you prefer more of a cake-like texture, cover entire pan tightly with plastic once cool & wait another few hours or overnight to cut, and keep cut pieces tightly sealed as well. Either way, this is a dense, chewy-cakey piece of mochi-brownie-cake in the middle.
This recipe makes a very full 9 x 13 pan! I usually trim the edges off before serving, and even without those this easily makes 12 VERY generous servings. Probably about 24-30 "slightly more restrained" servings (please note that I will never judge your choice in serving sizes).
Happy baking, friends!
PS. This is the first recipe I've ever posted here, so I'd love any feedback you might have! And don't forget to visit Joy at frockfiles.com for the all her earlier mochi posts as well as today's (vegan/dairy-free/gluten-free) chocolate chi chi mochi recipe!